Asian Shares Jump On U.S. Economy Reopening Plans

Asian shares gained Friday as President Donald Trump’s plans to gradually reopen the U.S. economy offset data that confirmed China suffered its worst financial contraction on record as a result of coronavirus outbreak.

Asian Shares Jump On U.S. Economy Reopening Plans

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stock outside Japan was up 2.6% after reaching a five-week high. Shares in China climbed 1.8% as the weak GDP data reinforced expectations that more stimulus is coming, while shares in Australia had been up 2.62%.

Information from China showed the world’s second-largest economy contracted for the first time since at least 1992 due to the coronavirus pandemic and tough containment measures. Gross domestic product shrank 6.8% in the quarter annually, barely more than anticipated, and 9.8% from the previous quarter.

Retail sales also dropped more than anticipated in March; however, industrial production only dipped slightly, suggesting its manufacturing industry at least is recovering rapidly.

However, the Chinese data and different forecasts that said the world is in its worst recession in decades prompted a ripple barely in Asian shares as investors focus instead on whether the pandemic is peaking and how quickly governments will begin to ease lockdowns which have crippled business and consumer activity.

Shares in Asia got off to a bright beginning, mirroring gains on Wall Street, as hopes that the U.S. will roll back bans on companies and reports about a potential treatment for COVID-19 boosted risk appetite.